Jessica Mahoney

Photo by Todd Wiseman

The cuts could take effect on January 1st and would make Texas’ Medicaid spending on par with other states. But therapy providers worry it could leave many patients without services.

According to Stephanie Goodman, spokesperson with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the organization reviews its rates from time to time.

"Recently we looked at our therapy rates and found out that in Texas, for some reason, we’re paying substantially higher than other states.”

Physical, occupational, and speech therapy services would all be affected, including both out-patient and in-home care. Mary Hennigan with the Texas Occupational Therapy Association says it should come as no surprise that those types of treatment are expensive.

Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife/

Try Out the City's Website

The City of Austin is unveiling its new website. The site isn’t live yet, but interested Austinites can attend a user testing session to try it out. The city wants to hear what you like, and what you don’t like about its new website. The sessions start today at 811 Barton Springs Road from 6 to 8 p.m.

Tour of WTP4

Photo by KUT News

AISD Public Hearing

The Austin Independent School District is holding a public hearing on its Facilities Master Plan tonight. Last week the AISD Board adopted the framework to guide how it manages its facilities, but the Board still hasn’t decided on a few key issues. There has been opposition to some parts of the plan, including a proposal to add in-district charter schools at some struggling campuses. Tonight’s hearing runs from 6 – 8 p.m. at AISD’s headquarters on West 6th Street. Speakers are limited to two minutes each, and can sign up in the Board Auditorium until 6:15 p.m.

Primary Ballot Filing Begins

Photo by KUT News

School Board Meeting

The Austin Independent School District is meeting tonight. The Board will vote on whether or not to adopt the Facility Master Plan. KUT has reported extensively on the FMP Framework in the past. Other items on the agenda include  budgetary approval, a discussion of how the new statewide testing system (STARR) will be used to determine students' end of year grades, and some school facilities improvements.

KUT News recently spoke with Superintendent Carstarphen about the possibility of adding in-district charter schools. The Board will vote on whether or not to partner with IDEA Public Schools, a Texas charter school operator, on December 12.

Longhorns vs. Aggies - The End of an Era?

Last night, a private plane carrying Oklahoma State Women's Basketball Head Coach Kurt Budke and Assistant Coach Miranda Serna crashed in Arkansas, killing everyone on board. The cause of the crash is not yet known.

Both the Longhorns and the OSU Cowgirls are in the Big 12. The Longhorns last played the Cowgirls in early March of last year, losing 37 - 52.

Texas Head Coach Gail Goestenkors posted this message of condolences on her Twitter:

The Texas Women's Basketball family sends our condolences to Oklahoma State. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cowgirls more than ever.

 The next scheduled game between the two teams is scheduled for January 7th.

Photo by Ben Philpott for KUT News

Rick Perry's Reaction to "Oops" Moment

Rick Perry's "oops" moment last night has provided plenty of fodder for the pundits.  In a rare post-debate appearance, the candidate appeared to be in deep damage control.

Perry tweeted to his followers on Twitter last night saying:

Map created by NPR, CPI, and StateImpact

Today, NPR, the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) and StateImpact launched a new series investigating air pollution and regulation across the country. The series is entitled, "Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities." StateImpact has more on the project on its website.

Photo by Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has granted a request to stay the execution of death row inmate Henry 'Hank' Skinner. The decision comes after two letters were filed on Skinner's behalf.

Skinner's defense attorneys sent a letter to Governor Rick Perry, requesting he hold off Skinner's execution long enough to conduct DNA testing. The Innocence Project sent a similar letter to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Photo by Eddie Seal, Texas Tribune

An earthquake hit outside of Oklahoma City on Saturday night. The magnitude 5.6 quake was the strongest in Oklahoma history. The US Geological Survey has released an initial report on the quake, but has not yet given an official cause.

Photo by KUT News

This Wednesday, don't be alarmed if you turn on your radio or TV and hear an Emergency Alert System test. The test will be run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

Photo by I-Hwa Cheng for KUT News

The Texas drought has been in effect for about a year now, give or take a month depending on whom you ask.

This map shows the areas of Loop 360 that would be affected by any changes.

As many commuters know well, traffic can be miserable in Austin. In 2010 INRIX, a traffic and congestion software research company, ranked the Austin metro area 26th for worst congestion nation-wide. Here is one commuter's video of sitting in traffic on Texas State Highway Loop 360:

Photo by Raymond Thompson for KUT News

Occupy Austin

More than 30 members of Occupy Austin were arrested on Saturday night for disobeying a new city law prohibiting the distribution of food from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. All were released on Sunday. Occupy Austin has released a statement on their website. They plan to hold a benefit concert tonight at 9 p.m. by City Hall to raise money for bail bonds.

The Texas Civil Rights Project has come out against the arrests, saying they were an "overreaction" and a "waste of tax payers' money." Here is their full response.

Court Redistricting

Today three federal judges in San Antonio will hold a hearing on the new state redistricting maps. The maps were created last spring by the legislature and signed into law this summer by Governor Perry. The state of Texas is being represented by Attorney General Greg Abbot, who says the new district lines should bolster minority representation. Opponents to the maps say they are discriminatory and will stifle minority representation.

Photo by Nicole Hernandez/

World Series

The Texas Rangers lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, 10-9 in 11 inning last night. The two are now tied in the World Series, 3-3. That forces a Game 7 of the World Series tonight in St. Louis. This is the first time in nine years that a World Series has gone gone to a seventh and deciding game.

Execution of San Antonio Man

Perry to Push for Balanced Budget Amendment

Just a day before delivering a speech on his proposal for a flat income tax and plan to balance the federal budget, Gov. Rick Perry has released details in an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal. Perry will reveal more about the plan in a South Carolina speech today. KUT's Ben Philpott is on the road with the Perry campaign.

AISD Meeting

The Austin Independent School Board met last night to discuss issues of overcrowding in some North Central Austin schools. The Board also announced its unanimous decision to join a lawsuit against the state regarding how public education is funded in Texas. KUT's Nathan Bernier has more here.

Photo by KUT

A local group is starting a petition drive to put the issue of single-member districts before Austin voters next May. Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR) wants the city to change the way people are represented on the city council. 

Currently, Austin City Council members represent the city as a whole. Single member districts, or geographic representation, would create a council elected to represent  specific parts of town.

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Possible Austin Energy Rate Hikes

The Electric Utility Commission of Austin will meet this evening at six to discuss Austin Energy’s proposed rate hikes from August. Members of the public are invited to speak at tonight’s meeting. The event will be held at Town Lake Center on Barton Springs Road. There will be an additional special-called meeting this Thursday. Read KUT's report on the proposed rate changes.

Bastrop Relief Concert

Photo by Keith Burtis/

Last Tuesday, Michael Morton walked out of jail a free man after being declared innocent of his wife's murder in 1986. After an independent review, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals announced today that it has approved the agreement to reverse Morton's conviction. The agreement was jointly presented by Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley, and Morton's attorneys.

Caleb Bryant Miller/KUT News

A new law that took effect on September 1st may make it easier for foreign-born criminal offenders in Texas to meet parole eligibility requirements, if they are subsequently deported. The law, authored by Representative Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, is designed to ease the state’s financial burden by deporting non-citizens instead of supporting their parole.

Photo by KUT News

Last night Republican presidential hopefuls converged in New Hampshire for yet another debate. As we’ve reported on KUT in the past, Governor Perry’s recent slip in the polls meant that Tuesday’s job-focused debate was an important chance for him to show he’s still a major contender in this race.

So how did he do?

Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News

More than one-third of timber damaged by wildfires in East Texas has been salvaged and resold by property owners. Separate wildfires across the eastern part of the state in June scorched over 30,000 acres. The salvaged timber will be repackaged and sold as building materials, paper, and fuel. The value of the resold goods is expected to exceed $100 million.

Photo by Ben Philpott for KUT News

Perry to Debate in New Hampshire

Governor Rick Perry will face off with other Republican Presidential hopefuls at a debate tonight in New Hampshire. The debate will focus on jobs and the economy. Tonight's debate will be an important one for Perry, as his numbers in the polls have been slipping over the past few weeks. Here is more coverage of Perry's prospects for tonight.

JD Hancock/Flickr

The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) held a public hearing regarding possible water utility bill increases.

Monarch proposed to raise water utility prices by 62.3% and wastewater rates by 33.6%. The changes would apply to Pflugerville residents who receive their water from Windermere Water Company. The company was recently purchased by Monarch. The Pflugerville City Council met in August and suspended the rate hikes for ninety days.

Photo by KUT News.

Ransom Center Acquires Coetzee Archive

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin has acquired the archive of Nobel-prize winning author J. M. Coetzee. Coetzee was born in South Africa, but received a Ph.D. in English, linguistics and Germanic languages from UT in 1969. He taught at the university briefly in 1995 in the Michener Center for Writers. Coetzee came to UT to speak at the 100th anniversary of the Graduate School in May 2010. A video of his speech can be found here. The archive contains documents and materials spanning more than fifty years.

Bastrop Town Hall Meeting

Photo by Linda Tanner

A disease transmitted by blood sucking parasites may be more common in Texas than scientists previously thought. New research released by the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin suggests suggest South Texas in particular is an area of high risk for Chagas infection.

The tropical parasite triatomine is known commonly as the "kissing bug" because it loves biting faces. Here’s a of one of the bugs to give a sense of scale. 

Photo by Lizzie Chen for KUT News

No Arrests at Occupy Austin

Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News

Garrett Gilbert to Transfer

Garrett Gilbert has been released from his UT athletics scholarship. This leaves the former Longhorn starting quarter back free to transfer. Gilbert has not announced where he will go, but says he will finish this semester at UT while he makes his decision.

Some Bastrop Evacuees Return Home

Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News

The Texas General Land Office is holding a symposium tomorrow to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the state's independence from Mexico. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said the seven-year-old Save Texas History Program was created to educate Texans on the history of the state and to preserve historical documents in the General Land Office archives.

Greg Westfall/flickr

Bow hunting season for White-tailed deer starts tomorrow in Texas. The ongoing extreme drought has culled deer population in many parts of the state. Nevertheless, Chris Mitchell with Texas Parks and Wildlife says the department wants hunters to take their full bag limit of deer this season. And that's less about sport and more about survival of the species.

Photo by KUT News

The Texas Longhorns football team returns from a week off to open Big-12 conference play against Iowa State tomorrow night. Since Garret Gilbert is out for the season following shoulder surgery, the Longhorns don’t have a third string quarterback.